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Full text of "The History Of Western Education"


increased interest in law. Jurisprudence had always received
special attention from Italian students, among whom the tradition
of Roman law seems to have been preserved unbroken from ancient
times. With the development of the towns a new value was added
to the study. A knowledge of law now became of the greatest
service not only for the maintenance of their rights as against out-
siders, but also for their internal regulation. For this reason it
came to have a place in the schools as a branch of rhetoric ; and
with the decay of the Latin language the reading and writing of
law Latin became a common part of grammatical instruction.
Thus it is recorded of Lanfranc, the famous Italian archbishop of
Canterbury (born circa 1005), that " he was educated from boy-
hood in the schools of the liberal arts and civil law, after the
custom of his country." The next step beyond this diffusion of
law studies as part of a general education was the rise of specialists
in law. The beginnings of this are to be seen in the school of
Pavia, which was famous as a centre of Lombard law from the
beginning of the Eleventh Century, and in the school of Ravenna,
which from the Ninth to the Eleventh Century was the most out-
standing school of Roman law in Italy. But though Pavia and
Ravenna were earliest in the field, it was Bologna which ultimately
became the greatest of the Italian schools and the seat of the first
law university. The reasons for the pre-eminence of Bologna are
somewhat uncertain. In part, no doubt, they were geographical.
Bologna stands at the meeting-place of the main roads from the
north to the centre of Italy, and therefore was involved in all the
conflicts between the Church States and the Lombard towns.
But no less important for her future was the appearance in her
school, at a critical moment in the contest of the cities for
scholastic superiority, of a great lawyer named Irnerius (circa
1050-1130), who gave a new impulse to legal studies in

Curiously enough, though there is general agreement that it was
to Irnerius that Bologna owed the position in European repute
which led to the rise of her university, very little is known about
either the man or his work. That he was a distinguished jurist is
certain : that he was a brilliant teacher capable of attracting large
numbers of students may legitimately be deduced from the results
of his teaching. Beyond that it is difficult to go. There is even
uncertainty about what was new in his teaching. Probably his